Researchers at the University of California-Davis say the public is getting desensitized to the coronavirus pandemic, especially when it comes to following pandemic-era safety measures. Who is shocked by this? Nonetheless, the study was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research Infodemiology.
The study looks at how the public responded to COVID-19 articles currently and compared the reactions on Twitter since early 2020. Communications doctoral student Hannah Stevens says the public has come a long way since the toilet paper panic-buying days.
The “Objective” of the study states: “In this work, we examine the effect of fear-inducing news articles on people’s expression of anxiety on Twitter. Additionally, we investigate desensitization to fear-inducing health news over time, despite the steadily rising COVID-19 death toll.”
“COVID-19 has made an indelible mark on history, and now it’s time to consider what went wrong so we can do better in communicating more effectively during future health crises, and even now, as the delta variant becomes more widespread,” Stevens says in a university release.
“First and foremost, we need to understand how and why scary health news lost impact over time, despite the rapidly increasing death toll” added Stevens. “Our study shows a need to delve deeper into how to re-sensitize the public and motivate them to take action in the face of an ongoing emergency,” she says.
How to re-sensitize the public? Stevens and her colleagues need to take a better look at the absolutely conflicting advice and information that has been vomited from the government, the Centers for Disease Control and the mainstream media as well as the hypocritical actions by those putting the mandates in place.
The public wasn’t just desensitized due to the overload of information, they were sick and tired of being manipulated and lied to. Stevens and the study go on to say “Testing the effectiveness of various health-risk communication strategies could quite possibly mean the difference between life and death in the future,” Stevens adds.
“If another health crisis occurred today, or COVID-19 takes another turn for the worse, it is essential for public health officials to consider that they are communicating to a desensitized public. I hope that this paper can be an impetus to get that discussion started” concludes Stevens.
Trump Will Not Return To Twitter Despite Elon Musk Acquisition
On Monday, former President Donald Trump said that he is not going to return to Twitter, which he was permanently banned from last year, after Twitter’s board of directors unanimously approved the sale of the company to Elon Musk.
Trump told Fox News that he is “not going on Twitter” and that he is instead going to be busy on his new social media platform, Truth Social.
“I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on TRUTH,” Trump told Fox News. “We’re taking in millions of people, and what we’re finding is that the response on TRUTH is much better than being on Twitter. Twitter has bots and fake accounts, and we are doing everything we can.”
“The bottom line is, no, I am not going back to Twitter,” Trump concluded.
As Fox News explained, “Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat following the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot. Twitter deemed a number of his tweets connected to the violent protests as inflammatory and warned of ‘the risk of further incitement of violence.’”
On Monday, Twitter’s board of directors unanimously agreed to be acquired by Elon Musk for $54.20 per share, or approximately $44 billion.
“The two sides worked through the night to hash out a deal that would be valued at $54.20 a share, or $44 billion,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “Twitter had been expected to rebuff the offer, which Mr. Musk made April 14 without saying how he would pay for it, and put in place a so-called poison pill to block him from increasing his stake. But after [Musk] disclosed that he has $46.5 billion in financing and the stock market swooned, Twitter changed its posture and opened the door to negotiations.”
In a press release, Musk highlighted the importance of free speech and Twitter’s role as a “digital town square.”
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”
Chinese-Owned TikTok Censored War against Ukraine for Russians Only, Created ‘Alternate Universe’
China is publicly siding with Russia politically in its inhumane invasion of Ukraine, but when it comes to technology, things are a bit more convoluted. Last month TikTok seemingly joined other big tech companies siding with Ukraine over Russia in the war by suspending uploads and live streams from Russia.
TikTok said it made the move, along with others, to “protect Russia users from the country’s new laws criminalizing criticism of its military” , reports The Washington Post. However, the Chinese-owned social media app “also walled off Russian users from seeing any posts at all from outside the country, including from Ukraine.”
Thus, a censored, ‘alternate universe’ was created for tens of millions of Russians who were unable to see and learn of the critical posts and atrocities the Kremlin was creating outside the Russian TikTok bubble.
Giulia Giorgi, a researcher at Tracking Exposed shared with The Washington Post that “in just one month, TikTok went from being considered a serious threat to Putin’s national support for the war to becoming another possible conduit for state propaganda.”
Tracking exposed has been studying the platform’s policies and actions in Russia since February when the invasion of Ukraine began. “Our findings show clearly how TikTok’s actions influenced that trajectory” Giorgi said of the escalation of state propaganda.
Giorgi shared information with The Washington Post “that videos bearing pro-war hashtags such as ‘for us’ and ‘Putin top’ continued to proliferate on TikTok in Russia for weeks after the block, while previously popular antiwar hashtags all but vanished from the platform.”
Tracking Exposed’s co-director added “our findings unequivocally show that TikTok is not being transparent about its actions in Russia” said Marc Faddoul.
Among the new findings is that TikTok appears to have belatedly closed a loophole in late March that Russian propagandists and creators alike had been exploiting to evade its ban on new video uploads from inside the country. Since March 26, according to Tracking Exposed and others, TikTok users who access the app from Russia cannot see any new content at all, with the app’s For You page limited to posts from inside Russia before that date. Yet thousands of pro-Putin posts that went up between March 6 and March 26, circumventing TikTok’s stated policies, remain available on the platform, uncontested by any outside or antiwar narratives.
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